Two summers ago I took my daughter and nephew (at the time ages 15 and 16) on an overnight trip with Living Adventure to Sand Island. I have been paddling for over 20 years and own my own kayak, but my experience on big water like Lake Superior is limited. The predeparture training in the bay was thorough, and I could tell we were in good hands. The paddle across to Sand Island was rigorous, with waves higher than I had experienced in a while. But we were rewarded with calm waters on the other side and an amazing paddle along small sea caves and beautiful beaches. I'm sorry to say I don't remember our guide's name after all this time, but he was amazing. He made absolutely delicious veggie-filled tortillas for dinner...and even got the teenagers to do the dishes!! We hiked to the lighthouse, where the waves crash onto the rocks in a wild and exhilarating way. The next day we paddled the edges of the island and came back to spend a relaxing couple hours on the beach. Our guide offered one-on-one instruction for anyone who was interested, and after years of wanting to learn how to intentionally dump my boat, get out and get back in by myself (in deep water), I am happy to say I am now able to do that. What I really want to share, however, is what happened on our crossing back to the mainland, because someone below made a comment about Living Adventures and safety. The winds were pretty strong on our paddle back, and the waves were crashing over the tops of the kayaks. I was in a double, as was my daughter, but my nephew Bret was paddling a single. In a momentary lapse of judgment, Bret put his hand out on the water, as if to steady the boat, but he leaned too far and dumped it. Within seconds, our guide was at his side, where he calmly instructed Bret to hold onto the side of the guide's kayak while he tipped Bret's kayak upside down and ran it across the front of his own kayak to empty out the water, then held it steady while Bret got back in. It happened so fast I couldn't believe it. Bret was back in his kayak and on the move within a minute or two, no worse for the wear. It could have been a disaster, but due to our guide's quick thinking and skill, it turned out fine. I couldn't thank him enough, but he was completely humble and nonchalant about it. I took the time to write the company a letter about this amazing young man who guided us. (I think his name is Brian.) I wouldn't hesitate to use Living Adventure again. I hope we can take a longer trip with them in the near future. the Apostle Islands are an absolute treasure, and there's no better way to experience them than by kayak!
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